On Monday, the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-led Senate passed the $900 billion stimulus package that both sides agreed to over the weekend. Now it just needs to be signed into law by President Trump (who on Wednesday threw a wrench into the process by demanding bigger checks).
But if the deal moves forward, the current coronavirus relief package would send most Americans a $600 stimulus check. That’s down from the $1,200 checks sent via the CARES Act in the spring.
So if the bill is signed into law, when would Americans actually see their money?
When will stimulus checks start to arrive?
If the last go-around is any indication, the first of the $600 checks would start to be deposited within two weeks of the legislation passing. After the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act on March 27, Americans started to receive their $1,200 stimulus checks as early as the week of April 13. So the $600 checks could start to arrive the week ending Jan. 9, if passed this week.
But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thinks the government can speed up that timeline—given that a distribution system is already in place.
“People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy.”
And this time there should be fewer delays. Back in the spring, millions of Americans, including those on Social Security, saw their checks delayed until they provided additional information. Since this payment would be based on the same tax year, it’s unlikely more information will need to be verified—at least among those who received their first round of payments.
One quirk of the calendar for those watching the clock: Federal government employees are off on Friday, Dec. 25, and Friday, Jan. 1. But that shouldn’t cause any substantial delays.
Who will get a stimulus check?
The plan agreed upon by Democratic and Republican leaders would send $600 checks to most adults, and $600 for each dependent child. However, the funds will phase out for people earning higher incomes. These stimulus checks will decrease for households with 2019 adjusted gross income—that is, federally taxable income—above $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per qualified couple. The checks completely phase out for individuals earning above $99,000, and joint filers with no children at $198,000.
How do I get my check?
For anyone who is eligible and previously provided their direct deposit information to the IRS, no action is needed. Your money will be deposited to your account. According to the IRS website, “Direct deposit is the safest and fastest way to receive a payment including a tax refund.” Taxpayers who don’t have direct deposit will receive a paper check in the mail, a process that last spring did take longer than the direct deposits.
Still for many Americans it will be a welcome holiday gift—even if it’s technically a few days late.
Correction: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article said that the Senate had not yet passed the stimulus bill. In fact, the Senate did so late Monday night.
Update December 23rd: This story has been updated in the first paragraph to reflect President Trump’s new demand for bigger stimulus checks.
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